Across the United States, top grain handlers have banned varieties of genetically modified corn and soybeans that are not approved in all major overseas markets, shaking up a decades-old system that used the world’s biggest exporting country as a launchpad for new seeds from biotech companies.
Currently, the U.S. is the biggest producer of GMO crops and has long been at the forefront of technology aiming to protect crops against insects or allow them to resist herbicides.
The U.S. farm sector is trying to avoid a repeat of the turmoil that occurred in 2013 and 2014, when China turned away boatloads of U.S. corn containing a Syngenta AG trait called Viptera that it had not approved. Viptera corn was engineered to control insects.
Seed companies are addressing industry concerns by selling biotech products under programs that restrict where growers can deliver their harvests to keep crops out of unapproved markets. Farmers also produce crops containing biotech traits from these companies under contracts with end users that designate approved locations where they can be delivered.
However, such approaches are not fool-proof methods of protecting the supply chain, experts say.
Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch